Context: As per a data from the Health Ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the five states namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Tamil Nadu that share the burden of 70% of COVID-19 cases, also account for the bulk of Swine flu cases.
More on the news:
- In the preceding year, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra accounted for 15,580 cases of confirmed H1N1 ,tantamount to 54 % of the confirmed infections.
- BackIn 2018 again, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, made up 65% of H1N1 cases.
- Barring 2016, Maharashtra and Gujarat have either led or been among the top three states to share India’s swine flu count.
- Months of February-March are typical months for influenza in India.
- Most influenza activity in northern India was seen during the summer months, in a stark contrast to southern and western India,where influenza cases mostly peak during winter months.
H1N1 and COVID-19: A Comparison
- Virus as Pathogen
- Both HIN1 and COVID-19 are caused due to pathogens that trace their origins to viruses from non-human hosts, they belong to different families.
- Both seasonal flu viruses and COVID-19 are contagious viruses
- Lung connection
- Both infiltrate the lungs and cause characteristic pulmonary infections that cause respiratory illness.
- Mode of Transmission
- Flu viruses are spread in respiratory droplets and airborne particles, while COVID-19 virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, and in some instances may be shed in feces.
- Varying fatality rates
- Swine flu infections have a higher case fatality rate that translates to deaths per confirmed cases and can cause significant deaths in children as well as those less than 60.
- COVID-19 on the other hand is relatively more dangerous to those above 60 and almost harmless to children.
- COVID-19 spreads more easily and has a higher death rate than the flu.
- The basic reproduction number or R0 of Flu is 1.46 while that of COVID-19 is between 2-3.
- Vaccine Protection
- Unlike seasonal flu, for which there is a vaccine to protect against infection, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.
- Herd Immunity
- There is typically some herd immunity to seasonal flu while for COVID-19, it is yet to be developed.
- Social Media and Technology
- COVID-19 is the first pandemic in the era of social media where the wealth of misinformation about the disease has the potential to spread faster than the virus.
- Moreover, COVID-19 pandemic has appeared in this advanced technological age, leading to probability of fast paced research and vaccine development.
- Swine flu is a disease of pigs that can, in rare cases, be passed to humans. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by one of many Influenza A viruses.
- The disease is spread among pigs by direct and indirect contact, aerosols, and from pigs that are infected but do not have symptoms.
- H1N1 is a seasonal infection which usually occurs every year with two peaks (One in January to March and other between July to September) in India.
- Most commonly, swine flu is of the H1N1 influenza subtype. However, swine flu viruses can sometimes come from other subtypes, such as H1N2, H3N1, and H3N2.
- H1N1 has primarily two strains - California and Michigan. From 2009 to 2016 California strain was dominant in India but since then cases of Michigan strain are observed more.
- Include coughs, chills, and aches, similar to seasonal flu.
- A vaccine has been produced to protect humans against the H1N1 strain of swine flu. This was introduced following a pandemic of swine flu in 2009 and 2010.
- Further Oseltamivir and Zanamivir drugs continue to be gold standard against the swine flu infection.
What does H1N1 mean?
- The designation “H1N1” indicates unique traits, which exhibit characteristics that identify the virus to the immune system and allows for attachment and replication of the virus.
- The “H” (hemagglutinin) and the “N” (neuraminidases) are both proteins that are found on the outer shell or envelope of the virus.
- Different viruses have different hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins.
- There are 16(H1 to H16) known types of hemagglutinin and 9(N1 to N9) known types of neuraminidase, which gives 144 different possible combinations of these proteins.
Image Source: The HIndu